My sister Merritt was 18 years old when she decided to bike across the country, starting from the Atlantic Ocean in Charleston and ending at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. Merritt was in Arkansas when a driver, who was texting, killed her.
I was 16 years old when my older sister was killed. My protector, my strength, and my heart grew wings and ascended into heaven. Merritt was unlike any person on this earth. Her heart and soul were in perfect equilibrium. She touched everyone who had the opportunity to meet her.
After her death, Merritt’s friends created TextLess Live More, a peer-to-peer, national-awareness campaign to end distracted driving and save lives. Additionally, my parents created the Merritt’s Way Fund, which allows at-risk, Boston middle and high school students to participate in the Trinity Excellence for Education Program (TEEP) at Trinity Church in Boston, an after-school college-readiness program. I am running to raise funds for these two life-changing and life-saving initiatives which honor my sister Merritt - her life, legacy and leadership.
I have always loved running. Getting up and going for a run helped me get through my grief for Merritt. I am proud and honored to run for my sister. Merritt took action, and everyday she inspires us to take action. Merritt’s style, her values such as truth, integrity, discipline and unending compassion — and her enduring smile — are a guide for how we, too, can be our best and make a difference in our school, community and society.
TextLess Live More and the Merritt's Way Fund are making a difference in the lives of many. Since 2013, TextLess Live More has been presented to schools and organizations across the country. This past October 11, what would have been Merritt's 23rd birthday, TextLess Live More became an official partner of Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) with over 10,000 chapters around the country. Likewise, the Merritt's Way Fund has supported 2 to 3 high school Merritt's Way Teep Scholars annually, with a 100% success rate for college readiness and placement.
Throughout my training, every time I put on my shoes and hit the pavement, I think of Merritt. During long runs and sprints, I know she is smiling down on me. Whenever I run, she is with me.
I am running the 2018 Boston Marathon for TextLess Live More and the Merritt’s Way Fund's support of TEEP, the Trinity Boston Excellence in Education Program.
But most importantly, I run for you, Sis.
Please consider donating and sharing so others can also live Merritt’s “Way.”